Pathfinder released its “Alpha 2” version of “Pathfinder, ” so I thought I would post some of the main differences between OGL 3.5 and the new “Pathfinder” rules.
This is not an in depth review or analysis of the rules, just a quick summary of the key differences that caught my eye. It is not comprehensive, so if you think I missed something important, post in the comments section.
The latest release is 125 pages long, so I am only going to cover the “Races” and “Classes” sections in this post.
The usual suspects are all present.
I found a few slight modifications to the 3.5 versions, but nothing of real note. Dwarves still move at 20 regardless of load and half-orcs get a strength bonus/intelligence penalty.
The main change I noticed is in the favored classes. First, even if you have two favored classes you must pick one and stick with it forever. Dwarves can be fighters or clerics, but they cannot have both as a favord class, one or the other is chosen at character creation. The other classes follow this same pattern, but the humans and half-elves get to pick their class from the entire list, not just two.
Also, choosing your favored class gets you +1 HP per level.
Experience Points and Advancement :
An interesting addition here. There are three paths, slow, medium and fast. To reach second level in the slow path requires 3000 xp, medium 2000 xp and fast 1300 xp. Interestingly, 3.5 is slightly faster than the Pathfinder fast track at only 1000 xp. A very nice option for campaigns that want to get to the higher levels faster.
A few changes here. Primarily “raging” time per day is now determined by constitution, rather than a flat number. Your constitution determines “rage points” and you burn those each round you rage. Rage also gives you spell-like abilties (rage powers) or combat abilities as you advance, such as darkvision when you rage. Not sure how I feel about this, seems tacked on and the spell-like abilties seem very strange. I hope they replace them with all physical combat advantages.
No surprises here. Main difference was the “domain powers.” Domains now offer cooler abilties as you advance. Some of the higher level ones are formidable. Makes that domain selection a much more “playable” part of you character. Trask like.
Wild-shape, animal companions and cannot wear metal armor, does this sound familiar? Nothing to see here, move along.
I liked the changes in this class. Fighters are still feat machines, but they now get “weapons and armor training” at various levels. Basically, they give you either an AC bonus or a +1 to hit with a specific group of weapons. Choose the same package of weapons repeatedly and you get bonuses with weapons in that group. I like the elegance. Use the same type of weapon for a long time, you get better. A 20th level capstone ability to “auto-confirm-critical” is a nice target to shoot for, pun intended.
So similiar to the 3.5 version, I am going to skip it. Small changes, but nothing of note.
Big changes in this class. Sneak attack will work on almost anything now, including undead. The only requirement is some “weak spot.” I always thought it was odd that a rogue could not find a “chink in the armor” of creatures like golems or undead. This should be better explained, seemed a bit fuzzy in the class entry. There might be more in the combat section.
There are also “rogue talents” similiar to the old monk list of special acrobatic or combat abilities that rogues earn about every other level. Bleeding attacks, spell casting ability and the ability to stand up and not draw an AOO are all on the list, yeah! I really like this one.
Hit dice is now d8!
Sorcerers are now the “X-Men” of pathfinder. They get the usual spontaneous casting, but now have a bloodline. You can pick from a variety of twisted family trees, including dragon, elemental or undead as the source of your power. As you advance, the bloodline gives you powers or physical changes. Nothing major, but very fun as flavor for the character. I liked the aberrant bloodline that lengthens your arms, so you have a 10-foot reach! Hit dice is now d6.
Spellbook and familiars are still there. Tweaks include a “bonded object” that makes it easier to cast spells (DC 20 + Spell Level spellcraft check or lose the spell when casting without your bonded object) and serves as an item you can cheaply (XP and GP) upgrade with powers. Hit dice is now d6.
That is all the base classes in “Pathfinder.” In the next few days I will take a look at the skills and spells.
Trask, The Last Tyromancer